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21/12/2012

Mindfulness at work


The ancient practice of mindfulness involves bringing non-judgmental awareness into the present moment. In our modern society it is easy to become overwhelmed by our emotions; so mindfulness encourages us to become more aware of our thoughts and feelings and enables us to manage them more effectively.

Acting mindfully in a working environment will increase productivity, boost concentration, help with stress, improve relationships and bring an increased sense of happiness and peace. For these reasons, mindfulness meditation has been incorporated into many businesses and modern workplaces around the world.

General Mills, the company behind cheerios and Häagen-Dazs ice cream, have been practicing mindfulness meditation in the workplace for many years now. They've created meditation rooms in their offices equipped with yoga mats and cushions allowing employees to take a few moments out of their working day to be mindful.

It's not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by seemingly never-ending errands at work, so it is helpful to take time out once in a while to slow down, become mindful, and have the ability to handle overwhelming emotions gracefully.

Here are a few tips, taken from a book called Savor, written by Thicb Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung, on mindfulness in the office.


10 Tips for encouraging mindfulness in the office:


1.    Stretch between meetings, periods of sitting in front of your computer and presentations.

2.    Take brief walks when possible. (Even a walk around the office will get your blood circulating and give your brain a rest)


3.    Transform your desk into a mindful space by featuring reminders to stop, breathe and listen to your body. (This could mean a reminder sticky note, a stress ball or a relaxing photo)

4.    Replace unhealthy desk foods with fulfilling snacks (e.g. nuts, fruit or granola)


5.    Keep a water bottle at your workstation.


6.    Instead of having lunch delivered and eating at your desk, take a few minutes to walk to a near-by restaurant. Even if you don't have to time to enjoy your meal there, you get a walk and maybe even enjoy a few mindful bites in the park or on a bench, before taking the rest back to your office.